2008 Power List: 25. Alex Rodriguez

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 24, 2008: Thirdbaseman Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees prepares himself for the next pitch during an at bat in the first inning of a game on August 24, 2008 against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. 08-418068 (Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Diamond Images/Getty Images

*Third Baseman, New York Yankees

(Age: 33)*

With his sizable talent and earnings, single-name ubiquity, and blond-tipped ambition, A-Rod has long been a bit like Madonna. Of course, Madonna hadn't been much like Madonna lately—ensconced in her English manor, writing children's books and chugging Kabbalah water—but that changed when she grabbed ahold of A-Rod. So his reported benediction—"She's my fucking soul mate, dude"—not only upended two marriages (and kicked off two multi-million-dollar divorce battles) and shook the celebrity-industrial complex, it laid bare the Yankees' $275 million man's own penchant for stirring up controversy. "It's a merger of equals," says Michelle Sterling, founder of the consultancy firm Global Image Group. "His history of infidelity goes way beyond marriage, so this liaison is totally consistent with his public image, which, incidentally, has never been great. But he seems to like it that way—he's A-Hole." But for Rodriguez, who appears to relish scrutiny even as he shies away from it, his home-wrecking hookup is a symbiotic relationship. He gets to learn the art of being a pop-culture idol at the feet of the master, while she gets back her dirty-girl bona fides: Screw the English accent—she's playing pitch-catch with a strapping superstar 17 years her junior. Thanks to A-Hole, it's good-bye, Madge; welcome back, Ms. Ciccone. We sure missed you.


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